William Henry Harrison

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William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison daguerreotype edit.jpg
9th President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1841 April 4, 1841
Vice PresidentJohn Tyler
Preceded by Martin Van Buren
Succeeded by John Tyler
United States Minister to Gran Colombia
In office
May 24, 1828 September 26, 1829
President John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Preceded by Beaufort Taylor Watts
Succeeded by Thomas Patrick Moore
United States Senator
from Ohio
In office
March 4, 1825 May 20, 1828
Preceded by Ethan Allen Brown
Succeeded by Jacob Burnet
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Ohio's 1st district
In office
October 8, 1816 March 3, 1819
Preceded by John McLean
Succeeded by Thomas R. Ross
Governor of the Indiana Territory
In office
January 10, 1801 December 28, 1812
Appointed by John Adams
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by Thomas Posey
Delegate to the
U.S. House of Representatives
from the Northwest Territory
In office
March 4, 1799 May 14, 1800
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded by William McMillan
Secretary of the Northwest Territory
In office
June 28, 1798 October 1, 1799
Governor Arthur St. Clair
Preceded by Winthrop Sargent
Succeeded by Charles Willing Byrd
Personal details
Born(1773-02-09)February 9, 1773
Charles City County, Virginia, British America
DiedApril 4, 1841(1841-04-04) (aged 68)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting place Harrison Tomb State Memorial
Political party Democratic-Republican (Before 1828)
Whig (1836–1841)
Anna Symmes (m. 1795)
Children10, including John and Carter
Relatives Benjamin Harrison V (Father)
Education Hampden–Sydney College
University of Pennsylvania
Signature William Henry Harrison Signature-full.svg
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1818-1819).svg  United States
Branch/serviceFlag of the United States Army (official proportions).svg  United States Army
  Indiana Territory militia
Years of service1791–1798, 1811, 1812–1814
Rank Army-USA-OF-07.svg Major General (U.S. Army)
Unit Legion of the United States
Commands Army of the Northwest

William Henry Harrison Sr. (February 9, 1773 – April 4, 1841) was an American military officer and politician who served as the ninth president of the United States. He died of pneumonia thirty-one days into his term, thereby serving the shortest tenure in United States presidential history. Because he was the first president to die in office, his death sparked a brief constitutional crisis and questions and debates about the presidential line of succession.

President of the United States Head of state and of government of the United States

The President of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

In political science, a constitutional crisis is a problem or conflict in the function of a government that the political constitution or other fundamental governing law is perceived to be unable to resolve. There are several variations to this definition. For instance, one describes it as the crisis that arises out of the failure, or at least a strong risk of failure, of a constitution to perform its central functions. The crisis may arise from a variety of possible causes. For example, a government may want to pass a law contrary to its constitution; the constitution may fail to provide a clear answer for a specific situation; the constitution may be clear but it may be politically infeasible to follow it; the government institutions themselves may falter or fail to live up to what the law prescribes them to be; or officials in the government may justify avoiding dealing with a serious problem based on narrow interpretations of the law. Specific examples include the South African Coloured vote constitutional crisis in the 1950s, the secession of the southern U.S. states in 1860 and 1861, the controversial dismissal of the Australian Federal government in 1975 and the 2007 Ukrainian crisis.

United States presidential line of succession The order by which officers of the U.S. federal government fill the vacant office of president of the United States.

The United States presidential line of succession is the order in which officials of the United States federal government discharge the powers and duties of the office of President of the United States if the incumbent president becomes incapacitated, dies, resigns, or is removed from office. Presidential succession is referred to multiple times in the U.S. Constitution – Article II, Section 1, Clause 6, as well as the 12th Amendment, 20th Amendment, and 25th Amendment. The Article II succession clause authorizes Congress to provide for a line of succession beyond the vice president, which it has done on three occasions. The current Presidential Succession Act was adopted in 1947, and last revised in 2006.


Harrison was a son of Benjamin Harrison V (one of the Founding Fathers) and the paternal grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States (1889–1893). He was the last president born as a British royal subject in the original Thirteen Colonies before the American Revolution started in 1775.

Benjamin Harrison V American planter and merchant

Benjamin Harrison V, from Charles City County, Virginia, was an American planter and merchant, a revolutionary leader and a Founding Father of the United States. He received his higher education at the College of William and Mary. Harrison was a representative to the Virginia House of Burgesses for Surry County, Virginia, and Charles City County. He was a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1777 and, during the Second Continental Congress, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Harrison served as Virginia's fifth governor from 1781 to 1784. His direct descendants include two U.S. Presidents—his son William Henry Harrison Sr. and great-grandson President Benjamin Harrison.

Founding Fathers of the United States Group of Americans who led the revolution against Great Britain

The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers, were a group of philosophers, politicians, and writers who led the American Revolution against the Kingdom of Great Britain. Most were descendants of colonists settled in the Thirteen Colonies in North America.

Kingdom of Great Britain constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707–1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It also did not include Ireland, which remained a separate realm. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

Harrison was the first member elected to the United States House of Representatives from the Northwest Territory, and later was the first governor of the Indiana Territory. He famously led U.S. military and state militia forces against Native Americans at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, [1] where he earned the nickname "Old Tippecanoe". He was promoted to major general in the regular United States Army in the subsequent War of 1812 (1812-1815), and served in the Battle of the Thames in Canada the following year. [2] After the war, Harrison moved to Ohio, where he was elected again to the House of Representatives. In 1824, the state legislature elected him to the United States Senate; his term was truncated by his appointment as Minister Plenipotentiary to Gran Colombia in May 1828.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they comprise the legislature of the United States.

Northwest Territory United States territory (1787-1803)

The Northwest Territory in the United States was formed after the American Revolutionary War, and was known formally as the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio. It was the initial post-colonial Territory of the United States and encompassed most of pre-war British colonial territory west of the Appalachian mountains north of the Ohio River. It included all the land west of Pennsylvania, northwest of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River below the Great Lakes. It spanned all or large parts of six eventual U.S. States. It was created as a Territory by the Northwest Ordinance July 13, 1787, reduced to Ohio, eastern Michigan and a sliver of southeastern Indiana with the formation of Indiana Territory July 4, 1800, and ceased to exist March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio, and the remainder attached to Indiana Territory.

Indiana Territory territory of the USA between 1800-1816

The Indiana Territory was created by a congressional act that President John Adams signed into law on May 7, 1800, to form an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1800, to December 11, 1816, when the remaining southern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Indiana. The territory originally contained approximately 259,824 square miles (672,940 km2) of land, but its size was decreased when it was subdivided to create the Michigan Territory (1805) and the Illinois Territory (1809). The Indiana Territory was the first new territory created from lands of the Northwest Territory, which had been organized under the terms of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

Harrison returned to private life in Ohio until 1836, when he was nominated for the presidency as the Whig Party candidate in the election of that year; he was defeated by Democratic Vice President Martin Van Buren. In 1840, the Party nominated Harrison again, with John Tyler as his running mate. Harrison and Tyler, known famously as "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too", defeated Van Buren in the 1840 election. Harrison was the oldest person to be elected president until Ronald Reagan in 1980 and later Donald Trump in 2016. [3] [4] Harrison died of pneumonia a month after taking office, and Tyler assumed the presidency, setting a major precedent in succession. Due to Harrison's brief time in office, scholars and historians often forgo listing this president in historical rankings.

Whig Party (United States) political party in the USA in the 19th century

This article is about the U.S. political faction. For the modern British party of the same name, see Whig Party. For the defunct British Party, see Whigs

Democratic Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Martin Van Buren 8th President of the United States

Martin Van Buren was the eighth president of the United States from 1837 to 1841, and the first president born after the independence of the United States from the British Empire. A founder of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the ninth governor of New York, the tenth U.S. secretary of state, and the eighth vice president of the United States. He won the 1836 presidential election with the endorsement of popular outgoing President Andrew Jackson and the organizational strength of the Democratic Party. He lost his 1840 reelection bid to Whig Party nominee William Henry Harrison, due in part to the poor economic conditions of the Panic of 1837. Later in his life, Van Buren emerged as an elder statesman and important anti-slavery leader, who led the Free Soil Party ticket in the 1848 presidential election.

Early life

Coat of Arms of William Henry Harrison Coat of Arms of William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison.svg
Coat of Arms of William Henry Harrison

Early life and education

William Henry Harrison, the seventh and youngest child of Benjamin Harrison V and Elizabeth (Bassett) Harrison, was born on February 9, 1773, at Berkeley Plantation, the Harrison family home along the James River in Charles City County, Virginia. He was a member of a prominent political family of English descent, whose ancestors had been in Virginia since the 1630s. [5] [6] Harrison was the last U.S. president born as a British subject before the American Revolution. His father was a Virginia planter who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress (1774–1777) and who signed the Declaration of Independence. The senior Harrison also served in the Virginia legislature, and as the fifth governor of Virginia (1781–84) in the years during and after the American Revolutionary War. [7] [8] [9] William's older brother, Carter Bassett Harrison, represented Virginia in the U.S. House (1793–99). [6] [10]

Berkeley Plantation place in Virginia listed on National Register of Historic Places

Berkeley Plantation, one of the first plantations in America, comprises about 1,000 acres (400 ha) on the banks of the James River on State Route 5 in Charles City County, Virginia. Berkeley Plantation was originally called Berkeley Hundred and named after the Berkeley Company of England. Benjamin Harrison IV built on the estate what is believed to be the oldest three-story brick mansion in Virginia and is the ancestral home to two Presidents of the United States: William Henry Harrison, his grandson, and Benjamin Harrison his great-great-grandson. It is now a museum property, open to the public.

Harrison family of Virginia Wikimedia list article

The Harrison family of Virginia, primarily consisting of two branches, is a notable political family in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia and in United States history. Members include a Founding Father of the nation and three Presidents of the United States, as well as state governors, legislators, education leaders, and mayors.

James River river in Virginia, United States

The James River is a river in the U.S. state of Virginia that begins in the Appalachian Mountains and flows 348 miles (560 km) to Chesapeake Bay. The river length extends to 444 miles (715 km) if one includes the Jackson River, the longer of its two source tributaries. It is the longest river in Virginia and the 12th longest river in the United States that remains entirely within a single state. Jamestown and Williamsburg, Virginia’s first colonial capitals, and Richmond, Virginia's current capital, lie on the James River.

Harrison was tutored at home until age fourteen when he entered Hampden–Sydney College, a Presbyterian college in Virginia. [11] He studied there for three years, receiving a classical education that included Latin, Greek, French, logic, and debate. [12] [13] Harrison's Episcopalian father removed him from the college, possibly for religious reasons, and he briefly attended a boys' academy in Southampton County, before being transferred to Philadelphia in 1790.

Hampden–Sydney College

Hampden–Sydney College (H-SC) is a liberal arts college for men in Hampden Sydney, Virginia. Founded in 1775, Hampden–Sydney is the oldest privately chartered college in the southern United States, the tenth-oldest college in the nation, the last college founded before the American Declaration of Independence, and one of only three four-year, all-male liberal arts colleges remaining in the United States. Hampden–Sydney College is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Episcopal Church (United States) Anglican denomination in the United States

The Episcopal Church (TEC) is a member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion based in the United States with dioceses elsewhere. It is a mainline Christian denomination divided into nine provinces. The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church is Michael Bruce Curry, the first African-American bishop to serve in that position.

Southampton County, Virginia county in Virginia

Southampton County is a county located on the southern border of the Commonwealth of Virginia. North Carolina is to the south. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,570. Its county seat is Courtland.

He boarded with Robert Morris and entered the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied medicine under Doctor Benjamin Rush.; [14] Harrison later told his biographer that he did not enjoy the subject. In the spring of 1791, shortly after he began his medical studies, his father died. When the eighteen-year-old Harrison, who was left in the guardianship of Morris, discovered that his family's financial situation left him without funds for further schooling, he abandoned medical school in favor of a military career. [13] [15]

Early military career

Governor Henry Lee III of Virginia, a friend of Harrison's father, learned of William's situation and persuaded him to join the military. Within twenty-four hours of meeting Lee, eighteen-year-old Harrison was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Army, 1st Infantry Regiment. He was initially assigned to Fort Washington, the present-day site of Cincinnati, in the Northwest Territory, where the army was engaged in the ongoing Northwest Indian War. [16] [17]

Harrison was promoted to lieutenant after Major General "Mad Anthony" Wayne took command of the western army in 1792 following a disastrous defeat under Arthur St. Clair, its previous commander. In 1793 he became Wayne's aide-de-camp and learned how to successfully command an army on the American frontier; he participated in Wayne's decisive victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20, 1794, which brought the Northwest Indian War to a successful close. [16] [18] Harrison was a signatory of the Treaty of Greenville (1795) as witness to Wayne, the principal negotiator for the U.S.. Under the terms of the treaty, a coalition of Native Americans ceded a portion of their lands to the federal government that opened two-thirds of present-day Ohio to settlement by European Americans. [16] [6] [19] [20]

Following his mother's death in 1793, Harrison inherited a portion of his family's Virginia estate, including approximately 3,000 acres (12 km2) of land and several slaves. Harrison, who was serving in the army at the time, sold his land to his brother. [21]

Marriage and family

In 1795, at age 22, Harrison met Anna Tuthill Symmes of North Bend, Ohio. She was a daughter of Anna Tuthill and Judge John Cleves Symmes, who served as a colonel in the American Revolutionary War, as a representative to the Congress of the Confederation, and became a prominent figure in Ohio. [6] [22] Harrison asked the judge for permission to marry Anna but was refused— the pair waited until Symmes left on business, eloped and were married on November 25, 1795, [23] at the North Bend home of Doctor Stephen Wood, treasurer of the Northwest Territory. The couple honeymooned at Fort Washington since Harrison was still on military duty. Two weeks later, at a farewell dinner for General Wayne, Judge Symmes confronted his new son-in-law for the first time since the wedding, sternly demanding to know how Harrison intended to support a family. Harrison responded, "by my sword, and my own right arm, sir." [24] Afterward, still concerned about Harrison's ability to provide for Anna, Judge Symmes sold the young couple 160 acres (65 ha) of land in North Bend. [25] Symmes did not come to accept Harrison until he had achieved fame on the battlefield.

William and Anna Harrison had ten children: Elizabeth Bassett (1796–1846), John Cleves Symmes (1798–1830), Lucy Singleton (1800–1826), William Henry (1802–1838), John Scott (1804–1878) father of future U.S. President Benjamin Harrison, Benjamin (1806–1840), Mary Symmes (1809–1842), Carter Bassett (1811–1839), Anna Tuthill (1813–1865), James Findlay (1814–1817). [26]

Anna, who was frequently in poor health during the marriage, primarily due to her many pregnancies, outlived William by twenty-three years. She died on February 25, 1864, at age eighty-eight. [12] [27]

In a biography of Walter Francis White—African-American civil rights leader and N.A.A.C.P president—historian Kenneth Robert Janken indicates that White's mother Madeline Harrison was said to have traced some of her mixed-race white ancestry to Harrison in Virginia. According to Janken, she opined that Dilsia, a female slave belonging to William Henry Harrison, had six children by him, born into slavery. Four were said to be sold to a planter in La Grange, Georgia, including a daughter, Marie Harrison. Marie was said to be Madeline's mother. No evidence corroborating these assertions has been discovered. [28]

Political career

Harrison began his political career when he resigned from the military effective June 1, 1798. [16] [29] and campaigned among his friends and family for a post in the Northwest Territorial government. With the aid of his close friend Timothy Pickering, who was serving as U.S. Secretary of State, Harrison received a recommendation to replace Winthrop Sargent, the outgoing territorial secretary. President John Adams appointed Harrison to the position in July 1798. Harrison frequently served as acting territorial governor during the absences of Governor Arthur St. Clair. [16] [30]

U.S. Congress

Harrison had many friends in the eastern aristocracy, and quickly gained a reputation among them as a frontier leader. He ran a successful horse-breeding enterprise that won him acclaim throughout the Northwest Territory. Harrison became a champion of lower land prices, a primary concern of settlers in the Territory at the time. The U.S. Congress had legislated a territorial land policy that led to high land costs, which many of the territory's residents disliked. In October 1799, after it had been determined that the Northwest Territory's population had reached a sufficient number to have a delegate in the U.S. Congress, Harrison ran for election. [31] He campaigned to encourage further migration to the territory, which eventually led to statehood. [32]

Engraved portrait print c. 1800 of William Henry Harrison at age 27 as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the Northwest Territory At -Large, by Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Memin, 1770-1852. Note the misspelling of the name. W.H. Harrison ca. 1800.jpg
Engraved portrait print c.1800 of William Henry Harrison at age 27 as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the Northwest Territory At -Large, by Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Mémin, 1770–1852. Note the misspelling of the name.

In 1798, at age twenty-six, Harrison defeated Arthur St. Clair Jr., the son of the territorial governor, by one vote to become the Northwest Territory's first congressional delegate, and served in the Sixth United States Congress from March 4, 1799, to May 14, 1800. [6] [35] As the Northwest Territory's delegate to Congress, he had no authority to vote on legislative bills, but he was permitted to serve on a committee, submit legislation, and engage in debate. [36]

Harrison became chairman of the Committee on Public Lands and successfully promoted passage of the Land Act of 1800, which made it easier to buy land in the Northwest Territory in smaller tracts at a low cost. The sale price for public lands was set at $2 per acre. [37] This became an important contributor to rapid population growth of the Northwest Territory. [38]

Harrison also served on the committee that decided how to divide the Northwest Territory into smaller sections. The committee recommended splitting the territory into two segments. The eastern section, which continued to be known as the Northwest Territory, comprised the present-day state of Ohio and eastern Michigan; the western section was named the Indiana Territory and consisted of the present-day states of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, a portion of western Michigan, and the eastern portion of Minnesota. [37] [39] The two new territories were formally established in 1800 following the passage of 2  Stat.   58. [40]

On May 13, 1800, President John Adams appointed Harrison as the governor of the newly established Indiana Territory, based on his ties to the west and seemingly neutral political stances. Harrison, caught unaware, was reluctant to accept the position until he received assurances from the Jeffersonians that he would not be removed from office after they gained power in the upcoming elections. [41] [42] After Harrison's governorship was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he resigned from Congress to become the first Indiana territorial governor in 1801. [37] [43]

Indiana territorial governor

Harrison arrived at Vincennes, the capital of the newly established Indiana Territory on January 10, 1801, to begin his duties. [44] [45] U.S. presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, both of whom were members of the Democratic-Republican Party, reappointed Harrison as the Indiana territorial governor in 1803, 1806, and 1809—Harrison was among the few Federalist appointees to so retain his post. [37] On December 28, 1812, Harrison resigned his position as territorial governor to continue his military career during the War of 1812. [46]

In 1804, while serving as the Indiana territorial governor, Harrison was assigned additional duties to administer the civilian government of the District of Louisiana, a part of the Louisiana Territory that included land north of the 33rd parallel. In October 1804, when a civilian government went into effect, Harrison served as the Louisiana district's executive leader. Harrison administered the district's affairs for five weeks, until the Louisiana Territory was formally established, effective July 4, 1805, and Brigadier General James Wilkinson assumed the duties of the Louisiana territorial governor. [47] [48]

In 1805 Harrison built a plantation-style home near Vincennes that he named Grouseland, alluding to the birds on the property; the thirteen-room home was one of the first brick structures in the territory. During his term as territorial governor, Harrison's home served as a center of social and political life in the territory. The farm has been restored and is a popular, modern-day tourist attraction. [22] [27] After the territorial capital was moved to Corydon in 1813, Harrison built a second home at nearby Harrison Valley. [49]

In addition to his duties as territorial governor, Harrison founded Jefferson University at Vincennes in 1801. The school was incorporated as Vincennes University on November 29, 1806, and is one of two U.S. colleges founded by a U.S. President; the other is the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson. [50]

Governor Harrison had wide-ranging powers in the new territory, including authority to appoint territorial officials and the legislature, as well as authority to divide the territory into smaller political districts and counties. One of his primary responsibilities was to obtain title to Indian lands that would allow future settlement and increase the territory's population, a requirement for statehood. [6] Harrison was eager to expand the territory for personal reasons as well; his political fortunes were tied to Indiana's eventual statehood. On February 8, 1803, when President Jefferson reappointed Harrison as the Indiana territorial governor, he also granted Harrison the authority to negotiate and conclude treaties with the Indians. [46]

Between 1803 and 1809, Harrison supervised eleven treaties with Indian leaders that provided the federal government with large tracts of land (more than 60,000,000 acres (240,000 km2)) that included the southern third of present-day Indiana and most of present-day Illinois for further settlement. The 1804 Treaty of St. Louis with Quashquame required the Sauk and Meskwaki tribes to cede much of western Illinois and parts of Missouri to the federal government. Many of the Sauk, especially Black Hawk, greatly resented this treaty and the loss of lands, a primary reason the Sauk sided with the United Kingdom during the War of 1812. Harrison thought the Treaty of Grouseland (1805) appeased some of the Indians, but tensions remained high along the frontier. The Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809) raised new tensions when Harrison purchased land from the Miami tribe, who claimed ownership of the land, more than 2.5 million acres (10,000 km²) of land inhabited by the Shawnee, Kickapoo, Wea, and Piankeshaw peoples. Harrison rushed the treaty process by offering large subsidies to the tribes and their leaders so that the treaty would be in force before President Jefferson left office and the administration changed. [49] [51]

Although Harrison's pro-slavery position made him unpopular with the Indiana Territory's antislavery supporters, he used his political power to make several attempts to introduce slavery into the territory. His efforts were ultimately unsuccessful due to the territory's growing anti-slavery movement. In 1803, Harrison lobbied Congress to vote in favor of a petition to suspend Article VI of the Northwest Ordinance for ten years, a move that would allow slavery in the Indiana Territory. At the end of the suspension period citizens in the territories covered under the ordinance could decide for themselves whether to permit slavery. Harrison claimed the suspension was necessary to encourage settlement and would make the territory economically viable, but Congress rejected the idea. [52] In 1803 and 1805 Harrison and the appointed territorial judges enacted territorial laws that evaded the provisions outlined in Article VI of the Ordinance, authorized indentures, allowed slaves to be brought into the territory, and gave their masters authority to determine the length of indentured servitude. [53] [54] The pro-slavery laws caused a significant stir in the territory.

In 1809, after the separation of the western portion of the Indiana Territory to create the Illinois Territory, elections were held to select members of territorial legislature's upper and lower houses for the first time. (Previously, lower-house members were elected, but the territorial governor appointed members to the upper house.) Harrison found himself at odds with the legislature after the antislavery faction came to power and the eastern portion of the Indiana Territory grew to include a large, antislavery population. [55] When the Indiana Territory's general assembly convened in 1810, its antislavery faction immediately repealed the indenturing laws enacted in 1803 and in 1805. [48] [56] After 1809 Harrison's political authority declined as the Indiana territorial legislature assumed more authority and the territory advanced toward statehood. By 1812 Harrison had moved away and resumed his military career. [57]

President Jefferson, the primary author of the Northwest Ordinance, had made a secret compact with James Lemen to defeat the proslavery movement led by Harrison. Although he was a slaveholder, Jefferson did not want slavery to expand into the Northwest Territory, as he believed the institution should eventually end. Under the "Jefferson-Lemen compact", Jefferson donated money to Lemen to found churches in Illinois and Indiana to stop the proslavery movement. In Indiana, the founding of an antislavery church led to citizens' signing a petition and organizing politically to defeat Harrison's efforts to legalize slavery in the territory. Jefferson and Lemen were both instrumental in defeating Harrison's attempts in 1805 and 1807 to secure approval to expand slavery in the territory. [58]

Army general

Tecumseh and Tippecanoe

An Indian resistance movement against U.S. expansion had been growing through the leadership of the Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa (The Prophet). The conflict became known as Tecumseh's War. Tenskwatawa convinced the native tribes that they would be protected by the Great Spirit and no harm could befall them if they would rise up against the white settlers. He encouraged resistance by telling the tribes to pay white traders only half of what they owed and to give up all the white man's ways, including their clothing, muskets, and especially whiskey, which was becoming known as evil for American Indians. [59]

1915 version of a depiction of Tecumseh believed to have been sketched c. 1808 Tecumseh02.jpg
1915 version of a depiction of Tecumseh believed to have been sketched c.1808

In August 1810, Tecumseh led 400 armed warriors down the Wabash River to meet with Harrison in Vincennes. As the warriors were dressed in war paint, their sudden appearance at first frightened the soldiers at Vincennes. The leaders of the group were escorted to Grouseland, where they met Harrison. Tecumseh insisted that the Fort Wayne Treaty was illegitimate. He argued that no one tribe could sell land without the approval of the other tribes; he asked Harrison to nullify it and warned that Americans should not attempt to settle the lands sold in the treaty. Tecumseh informed Harrison that he had threatened to kill the chiefs who signed the treaty if they carried out its terms, and that his confederation of tribes was growing rapidly. [60] Harrison said the Miami were the owners of the land and could sell it if they so chose. He rejected Tecumseh's claim that all the Indians formed one nation. He said each tribe could have separate relations with the United States if they chose to. Harrison argued that the Great Spirit would have made all the tribes speak one language if they were to be one nation. [61]

Tecumseh launched an "impassioned rebuttal", but Harrison was unable to understand his language. [61] A Shawnee friendly to Harrison cocked his pistol from the sidelines to alert Harrison that Tecumseh's speech was leading to trouble. Some witnesses reported that Tecumseh was encouraging the warriors to kill Harrison. Many of the warriors began to pull their weapons, representing a substantial threat to Harrison and the town, which held a population of only 1,000. Harrison pulled his sword. Tecumseh's warriors backed down after the officers had pulled their firearms in defense of Harrison. [61] Chief Winnemac, who was friendly to Harrison, countered Tecumseh's arguments and told the warriors that since they had come in peace, they should return home in peace. Before leaving, Tecumseh informed Harrison that unless the treaty were nullified, he would seek an alliance with the British. [62] After the meeting, Tecumseh journeyed to meet with many of the tribes in the region, hoping to create a confederation to battle the United States. [63]

In 1811, while Tecumseh was traveling, Harrison was authorized by Secretary of War William Eustis to march against the nascent confederation as a show of force. Harrison led an army of more than 1,000 men north, to intimidate the Shawnee into making peace. Instead, the tribes launched a surprise attack on Harrison's army early on November 7, in what became known as the Battle of Tippecanoe. Harrison defeated the tribal forces at Prophetstown, next to the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers. Harrison was hailed as a national hero and the battle became famous. However, his troops had greatly outnumbered the attackers, and suffered many more casualties during the battle. [64]

When reporting to Secretary Eustis, Harrison informed him the battle occurred near the Tippecanoe River (which led to its naming), and he feared an imminent reprisal attack. The first dispatch did not make clear which side had won the conflict, and the secretary at first interpreted it as a defeat. The follow-up dispatch made the U.S. victory clear. When no second attack came, the defeat of the Shawnee was more certain. Eustis demanded to know why Harrison had not taken adequate precautions in fortifying his camp against attacks. Harrison countered by saying he had considered the position strong enough. The dispute was the catalyst of a disagreement between Harrison and the Department of War that continued into the War of 1812. [65]

The press did not cover the battle at first, and one Ohio paper misinterpreted Harrison's dispatch to Eustis to mean he was defeated. [66] By December, as most major American papers carried stories on the battle, public outrage over the Shawnee attack grew. At a time of high tensions with the United Kingdom, many Americans blamed the British for inciting the tribes to violence and supplying them with firearms. In response, Congress passed resolutions condemning the British for interfering in American domestic affairs. A few months later, on June 18, 1812, the U.S. government declared war against United Kingdom. [67] Shortly thereafter, Harrison left Vincennes to seek a military appointment. [68]

War of 1812

This portrait of Harrison originally showed him in civilian clothes as the congressional delegate from the Northwest Territory in 1800, but the uniform was added after he became famous in the War of 1812. Rembrandt Peale - William Henry Harrison - Google Art Project.jpg
This portrait of Harrison originally showed him in civilian clothes as the congressional delegate from the Northwest Territory in 1800, but the uniform was added after he became famous in the War of 1812.

The outbreak of war with the British in 1812 led to continued conflict with Indians in the Northwest. Harrison briefly served as a major general in the Kentucky militia until the U.S. government commissioned him to command the Army of the Northwest, on September 17, 1812. Although Harrison received federal military pay for his service, he also collected a territorial governor's salary from September until December 28, 1812, when he formally resigned as governor and continued his military service. [68]

After the American defeat in the Siege of Detroit, General James Winchester, who became the commander of the Army of the Northwest, offered Harrison the rank of brigadier general. Harrison also wanted sole command of the army. In September 1812, after President James Madison removed Winchester from command, Harrison became commander of the fresh recruits. Initially, the British and their Indian allies greatly outnumbered Harrison's troops. During the winter of 1812–13 Harrison constructed a defensive position along the Maumee River in northwest Ohio and named it Fort Meigs in honor of the Ohio governor Return J. Meigs Jr..

After receiving reinforcements in 1813, Harrison took the offensive and led the army north to battle the Shawnee and their British allies. Harrison won victories in the Indiana Territory and in Ohio and recaptured Detroit, before invading Upper Canada (present-day Ontario). Harrison's army defeated the British on October 5, 1813, at the Battle of the Thames, in which Tecumseh was killed. [68] [69] This pivotal battle is considered to be one of the great American victories in the war, second only to the Battle of New Orleans. [69] [70]

In 1814 U.S. Secretary of War John Armstrong divided the command of the army, assigning Harrison to a "backwater" post and giving control of the front to one of Harrison's subordinates. (Armstrong and Harrison had disagreed over the lack of coordination and effectiveness in the invasion of Canada.) In May, following Harrison's reassignment, he resigned from the army; his resignation was accepted later that summer. [71] [72] After the war ended, Congress investigated Harrison's resignation and determined that Armstrong had mistreated him during his military campaign and that his resignation was justified. Congress awarded Harrison a gold medal for his services during the War of 1812.

Following the defeat of the British and their Indian allies in western Canada, Harrison and Lewis Cass, governor of the Michigan Territory, were delegated the responsibility for negotiating a peace treaty with the Indians, known as the Treaty of Greenville (1814). [73] In June 1815, at President Madison's request, the U.S. government appointed Harrison to serve as one of the commissioners responsible for negotiating a second postwar treaty with the Indians that became known as the Treaty of Spring Wells (1815). Both treaties were advantageous to the United States. In the Spring Wells treaty the tribes ceded a large tract of land in the west, providing additional land for American purchase and settlement. [35] [74]

Postwar life

Public office

After John Gibson replaced Harrison as Indiana territorial governor in 1812 and Harrison's resignation from the army in 1814, he returned to his family in North Bend. Harrison cultivated his land and enlarged the log cabin farmhouse, but he soon returned to public life. [75] [76] In 1816 Harrison was elected to complete the term of John McLean of Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives, where Harrison represented the state from October 8, 1816, to March 3, 1819. In 1817 Harrison declined to serve as Secretary of War under President Monroe. In 1819 he was elected to the Ohio State Senate and served until 1821, having lost the election for Ohio governor in 1820. In 1822 he ran for a seat in the U.S. House, but lost by 500 votes to James W. Gazlay. In 1824 Harrison was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served until May 20, 1828. Fellow westerners in Congress called Harrison a "Buckeye", a term of affection related to the native Ohio buckeye tree. [35] He was an Ohio presidential elector in 1820 for James Monroe [77] and for Henry Clay in 1824. [78]

Appointed in 1828 as minister plenipotentiary to Gran Colombia, Harrison resigned from Congress and served in his new post until March 8, 1829. [35] He arrived in Bogotá on December 22, 1828 and found the condition of Colombia saddening. Harrison reported to the Secretary of State that the country was on the edge of anarchy, including his opinion that Simón Bolívar was about to become a military dictator. While minister in Colombia, Harrison wrote a rebuke to Bolívar, stating "the strongest of all governments is that which is most free". He called on Bolívar to encourage the development of a democracy. In response, Bolívar wrote, "The United States ... seem destined by Providence to plague America with torments in the name of freedom", a sentiment that achieved fame in Latin America. [79] When the new administration of President Andrew Jackson took office in March 1829, Harrison was recalled so the new president could make his own appointment to the position; he returned to the United States in June. [80]

Private citizen

After Harrison returned to the United States from Colombia, he settled on his farm in North Bend, Ohio, his adopted home state, living in relative retirement after nearly four decades of government service. Having accumulated no substantial wealth during his lifetime, he subsisted on his savings, a small pension, and the income produced by his farm. Harrison cultivated corn and established a distillery to produce whiskey. After a brief time in the liquor business, he became disturbed by the effects of alcohol on its consumers, and closed the distillery. In a later address to the Hamilton County Agricultural Board in 1831, Harrison said he had sinned in making whiskey, and hoped that others would learn from his mistake and stop the production of liquors. [81]

In these early years, Harrison also earned money from his contributions to a biography written by James Hall, entitled A Memoir of the Public Services of William Henry Harrison, published in 1836. That year, he made an unsuccessful run for the presidency as a Whig candidate. Between 1836 and 1840, Harrison served as Clerk of Courts for Hamilton County. This was his job when he was elected president in 1840. [82] About this time, Harrison met African-American abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor George DeBaptiste who lived in nearby Madison. The two became friends, and DeBaptiste became his personal servant, staying with Harrison until his death. [83] By 1840, when Harrison campaigned for president a second time, over a dozen books had been published on his life. He was hailed by many as a national hero. [84]

1836 presidential campaign

Chromolithograph campaign poster for William Henry Harrison WmHHarrison-campaign poster.jpg
Chromolithograph campaign poster for William Henry Harrison

Harrison was the Northern Whig candidate for president in 1836, one of only two times in American history when a major political party intentionally ran more than one presidential candidate (the Democrats ran two candidates in 1860). Vice President Martin Van Buren, the Democratic candidate, was popular and deemed likely to win the election against an individual Whig candidate. The Whig plan was to elect popular Whigs regionally, deny Van Buren the 148 electoral votes needed for election, and force the House of Representatives to decide the election. They hoped the Whigs would control the House after the general elections. (This strategy would have failed, as the Democrats retained a majority in the House following the election.) [85] [86]

Harrison ran in all the free states except Massachusetts, and the slave states of Delaware, Maryland, and Kentucky. Hugh L. White ran in the remaining slave states except for South Carolina. Daniel Webster ran in Massachusetts, and Willie P. Mangum in South Carolina. [87] The plan narrowly failed, as Van Buren won the election with 170 electoral votes. A swing of just over 4,000 votes in Pennsylvania would have given that state's 30 electoral votes to Harrison, and the election would have been decided in the House of Representatives. [85] [86] [88]

1840 presidential campaign

Poster of Harrison's accomplishments WmHHarrison-poster.jpg
Poster of Harrison's accomplishments

Harrison was the Whig candidate and faced the incumbent Van Buren in the 1840 election. He was chosen over more controversial members of the party, such as Clay and Webster, and based his campaign on his military record and on the weak U.S. economy, caused by the Panic of 1837. In a ploy to blame Van Buren for the depressed economy, the Whigs nicknamed the latter "Van Ruin". [89]

The Democrats ridiculed Harrison by calling him "Granny Harrison, the petticoat general", because he resigned from the army before the War of 1812 ended. When asking voters whether Harrison should be elected, the Democrats asked what Harrison's name spelled backwards would be: "No Sirrah". They also cast Harrison as a provincial, out-of-touch, old man who would rather "sit in his log cabin drinking hard cider" than attend to the administration of the country. This strategy backfired when Harrison and John Tyler, his vice presidential running mate, adopted the log cabin and hard cider as campaign symbols. Their campaign used the symbols on banners and posters, and created bottles of hard cider shaped like log cabins, all to connect the candidates to the "common man". [90]

1840 Electoral Vote Map ElectoralCollege1840.svg
1840 Electoral Vote Map

Although Harrison had come from a wealthy, slaveholding Virginia family, his campaign promoted him as a humble frontiersman in the style popularized by Andrew Jackson. In contrast, the Whigs presented Van Buren as a wealthy elitist. A memorable example was the Gold Spoon Oration that Pennsylvania's Whig representative, Charles Ogle, delivered in the U.S. House. The speech ridiculed Van Buren's elegant, White House lifestyle and lavish spending. [90] [91] [92] A Whig chant in which people would spit tobacco juice as they chanted "wirt-wirt," also exhibited the difference between candidates from the time of the election: [93]

Old Tip he wore a homespun coat, he had no ruffled shirt: wirt-wirt,
But Matt he has the golden plate, and he's a little squirt: wirt-wirt!

The Whigs boasted of Harrison's military record and his reputation as the hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe. The campaign slogan, "Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too", became one of the most famous in American politics. [93] Harrison won a landslide victory in the Electoral College, 234 electoral votes to Van Buren's 60, although the popular vote was much closer. Harrison received 53 percent of the popular vote to Van Buren's 47 percent, with a margin of less than 150,000 votes. [93] [94]

Presidency (1841)

Shortest presidency

William Henry Harrison (Bass Otis, 1841) Bass Otis (American, 1784-1861) - Portrait of William Henry Harrison.jpg
William Henry Harrison (Bass Otis, 1841)

When Harrison came to Washington, he wanted to show that he was still the steadfast hero of Tippecanoe, and that he was a better educated and thoughtful man than the backwoods caricature portrayed in the campaign. He took the oath of office on Thursday, March 4, 1841, a cold and wet day. [95] He wore neither an overcoat nor hat, rode on horseback to the ceremony rather than in the closed carriage that had been offered him, and delivered the longest inaugural address in American history. [95] At 8,445 words, it took him nearly two hours to read, although his friend and fellow Whig Daniel Webster had edited it for length. After becoming the first head of state to have his photograph taken, Harrison then rode through the streets in the inaugural parade, [96] and that evening attended three inaugural balls, [97] including one at Carusi's Saloon entitled the "Tippecanoe" ball, which at a price of $10 per person (equal to $243 in 2018 [98] ) attracted 1,000 guests.

The inaugural address was a detailed statement of the Whig agenda, essentially a repudiation of Jackson's and Van Buren's policies. Harrison promised to reestablish the Bank of the United States and extend its capacity for credit by issuing paper currency (Henry Clay's American system); to defer to the judgment of Congress on legislative matters, with sparing use of his veto power; and to reverse Jackson's spoils system of executive patronage. He promised to use patronage to create a qualified staff, not to enhance his own standing in government. [99] [100]

As leader of the Whigs and a powerful legislator (as well as a frustrated presidential candidate in his own right), Henry Clay expected to have substantial influence in the Harrison administration. He ignored his own platform plank of overturning the "spoils" system. Clay attempted to influence Harrison's actions before and during his brief presidency, especially in putting forth his own preferences for Cabinet offices and other presidential appointments. Harrison rebuffed his aggression, saying "Mr. Clay, you forget that I am the President." [101] The dispute intensified when Harrison named Daniel Webster, Clay's arch-rival for control of the Whig Party, as his Secretary of State, and appeared to give Webster's supporters some highly coveted patronage positions. Harrison's sole concession to Clay was to name his protégé John J. Crittenden to the post of Attorney General. Despite this, the dispute continued until the President's death.

Clay was not the only one who hoped to benefit from Harrison's election. Hordes of office applicants came to the White House, which was then open to all who wanted a meeting with the president. Most of Harrison's business during his month-long presidency involved extensive social obligations—an inevitable part of his high position and arrival in Washington—and receiving visitors at the White House. They awaited him at all hours and filled the Executive Mansion. [96] Harrison wrote in a letter dated March 10, "I am so much harassed by the multitude that call upon me that I can give no proper attention to any business of my own." [102] Nevertheless, Harrison sent a number of nominations for office to the Senate for confirmation during his month in office. The new 27th Congress had convened an extraordinary session for the purpose of confirming Harrison's cabinet and other important nominees, since a number of them arrived after Congress' March 15 adjournment; however, John Tyler would ultimately be forced to renominate many of Harrison's selections. [103]

Harrison took his pledge to reform executive appointments seriously, visiting each of the six executive departments to observe its operations and issuing through Webster an order to all departments that electioneering by employees would henceforth be considered grounds for dismissal.

HARRISON, William H-President (BEP engraved portrait).jpg
BEP engraved portrait of President Harrison

As he had with Clay, Harrison resisted pressure from other Whigs over partisan patronage. When a group arrived in his office on March 16 to demand the removal of all Democrats from any appointed office, Harrison proclaimed, "So help me God, I will resign my office before I can be guilty of such an iniquity!" [104] Harrison's own cabinet attempted to countermand the president's appointment of John Chambers as Governor of Iowa in favor of Webster's friend, General James Wilson; when Webster attempted to press this decision at a March 25 cabinet meeting, however, Harrison asked him to read aloud a handwritten note (which said simply "William Henry Harrison, President of the United States"), then announced that "William Henry Harrison, President of the United States, tells you, gentlemen, that, by God, John Chambers shall be governor of Iowa!" [105]

Harrison's only official act of consequence was to call Congress into a special session. Henry Clay and he had disagreed over the necessity of such a session, and when on March 11 Harrison's cabinet proved evenly divided, the president vetoed the idea. When Clay pressed Harrison on the special session on March 13, the president rebuffed his counsel and told him not to visit the White House again, but to address him only in writing. [106] A few days later, however, Treasury Secretary Thomas Ewing reported to Harrison that federal funds were in such trouble that the government could not continue to operate until Congress' regularly scheduled session in December; Harrison thus relented, and on March 17 proclaimed the special session in the interests of "the condition of the revenue and finance of the country". The session was scheduled to begin on May 31. [107] [108]

Administration and cabinet

Official White House portrait by James Reid Lambdin James Reid Lambdin - William Henry Harrison - Google Art Project.jpg
Official White House portrait by James Reid Lambdin
The Harrison Cabinet
President William Henry Harrison1841
Vice President John Tyler 1841
Secretary of State Daniel Webster 1841
Secretary of Treasury Thomas Ewing 1841
Secretary of War John Bell 1841
Attorney General John J. Crittenden 1841
Postmaster General Francis Granger 1841
Secretary of the Navy George E. Badger 1841

Death and funeral

Death of Harrison, April 4, 1841 Death of Harrison, April 4 A.D. 1841.jpg
Death of Harrison, April 4, 1841

On March 26, 1841, Harrison became ill with a cold—according to the prevailing medical misconception of that time, his illness was believed to be caused by the bad weather at his inauguration, but the illness did not arise until more than three weeks afterwards. [110] Harrison tried to rest in the White House, but could not find a quiet room because of the steady crowd of office seekers. His extremely busy social schedule also made rest time scarce. [96]

Harrison's doctors tried several cures, such as applying opium, castor oil, leeches, and Virginia snakeweed, but the treatments only made Harrison worse and he became delirious. He died nine days after becoming ill, [111] at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 4, 1841. Harrison's doctor, Thomas Miller, diagnosed Harrison's cause of death as "pneumonia of the lower lobe of the right lung". [110] A medical analysis made in 2014, based on Dr. Miller's notes and records of the White House water supply being downstream of public sewage, concluded that he likely died of septic shock due to enteric fever. [112] [113]

Harrison became the first United States president to die in office. His last words were to his doctor, but they were assumed to be directed at Vice President Tyler: "Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more." Harrison served the shortest term of any American president: March 4 – April 4, 1841, 30 days, 12 hours, and 30 minutes. [114] [115]

The President's body was borne through Washington. Solomon Northup gave an account of the procession in Twelve Years a Slave : [116]

The next day there was a great pageant in Washington. The roar of cannon and the tolling of bells filled the air, while many houses were shrouded with crape, and the streets were black with people. As the day advanced, the procession made its appearance, coming slowly through the Avenue, carriage after carriage, in long succession, while thousands upon thousands followed on foot—all moving to the sound of melancholy music. They were bearing the dead body of Harrison to the grave....I remember distinctly how the window glass would break and rattle to the ground, after each report of the cannon they were firing in the burial ground.

Harrison's funeral took place in the Wesley Chapel in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 7, 1841. [117] His original interment was in the public vault of the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., but his remains were later buried in North Bend, Ohio. The William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial was erected at the gravesite in his honor. [118]

Impact of death

The William Henry Harrison Memorial in North Bend, Ohio William Henry Harrison Memorial.jpg
The William Henry Harrison Memorial in North Bend, Ohio

Harrison's death was a disappointment to Whigs, who hoped to pass a revenue tariff and enact measures to support Henry Clay's American system. John Tyler, Harrison's successor and a former Democrat, abandoned the Whig agenda, effectively cutting himself off from the party. [119]

Due to the death of Harrison, three presidents served within a single calendar year (Martin Van Buren, Harrison, Tyler), which has occurred only one other time when Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur served in 1881. [120]

Harrison's death revealed the flaws in the U.S. Constitution's clauses on presidential succession. [121] Article II of the Constitution states: "In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President ... and [the Vice President] shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected". [122] Scholars at the time disagreed whether the vice president would become president or merely acting president. The Constitution did not stipulate whether the vice president could serve the remainder of the president's term, until the next election, or if emergency elections should be held.

Harrison's cabinet insisted that Tyler was "Vice President acting as President". After the cabinet consulted with the Chief Justice Roger Taney, they decided that if Tyler took the presidential Oath of Office, he would assume the office of president. Tyler obliged and was sworn into office on April 6, 1841. Congress convened in May, and after a short period of debate in both houses, it passed a resolution that confirmed Tyler as president for the remainder of Harrison's term. Once established, this precedent of presidential succession remained in effect until the Twenty-fifth Amendment was ratified in 1967, [119] [123] following the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the succession of Lyndon B. Johnson to the presidency in 1963. The Twenty-fifth Amendment dealt with the finer points of succession, defining the situations in which the vice president would serve as acting president, and in which situations the vice president could become president. [124]


Historical reputation

Harrison (on left) at Tippecanoe County Courthouse, Lafayette, Indiana Tecumseh in Lafayette IN.jpg
Harrison (on left) at Tippecanoe County Courthouse, Lafayette, Indiana

Among Harrison's most enduring legacies is the series of treaties that he either negotiated or signed with Native American leaders during his tenure as the Indiana territorial governor. [12] As part of the treaty negotiations, the native tribes ceded large tracts of land in the west that provided additional acreage for purchase and settlement. [35] [125] [74] Harrison's chief presidential legacy lies in his campaigning methods, which laid the foundation for the modern presidential campaign tactics. [126]

Harrison was the first sitting incumbent President to have his photograph taken. The image was made in Washington, D.C., on his inauguration day in 1841. Photographs exist of John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Martin Van Buren, but these images were taken after they left office. The Harrison image was also the first presidential photograph. The original daguerreotype of Harrison on his inauguration day has been lost—although at least one early photographic copy exists in the archives of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. [127]

Harrison died nearly penniless. Congress voted his wife, Anna, a presidential widow's pension of $25,000, [128] one year of Harrison's salary (equivalent to about $607,000 in 2018 [98] ). She also received the right to mail letters free of charge. [129]

Harrison's son, John Scott Harrison, represented Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1853 and 1857. [130] Harrison's grandson, Benjamin Harrison of Indiana, served as the 23rd U.S. president from 1889 to 1893, making William and Benjamin Harrison the only grandparent–grandchild pair of U.S. presidents. [131]

Honors and tributes

2009 Presidential Dollar of William Henry Harrison William Henry Harrison Presidential $1 Coin obverse.jpg
2009 Presidential Dollar of William Henry Harrison

On February 19, 2009, the U.S. Mint released the ninth coin in the Presidential $1 Coin Program, bearing Harrison's likeness. A total of 98,420,000 coins were minted. [132] [133]

Statue of Harrison on horseback in Cincinnati Cincinnati-harrison-statue.jpg
Statue of Harrison on horseback in Cincinnati

Several monuments and memorial statues have been erected in tribute to Harrison. There are public statues of him in downtown Indianapolis, [134] Cincinnati's Piatt Park, [135] the Tippecanoe County Courthouse, [136] Harrison County, Indiana, [137] and Owen County, Indiana. [138] Numerous counties and towns also bear his name.

See also

Related Research Articles

United States presidential election, 1840 14th US presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1840 was the 14th quadrennial presidential election, held from Friday, October 30, to Wednesday, December 2, 1840. In the midst of the Panic of 1837, incumbent President Martin Van Buren of the Democratic Party was defeated by Whig nominee William Henry Harrison. The election marked the first of two Whig victories in presidential elections.

Battle of Tippecanoe battle

The Battle of Tippecanoe was fought on November 7, 1811 in Battle Ground, Indiana between American forces led by Governor William Henry Harrison of the Indiana Territory and Indian forces associated with Shawnee leader Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa, leaders of a confederacy of various tribes who opposed settlement of the American West. As tensions and violence increased, Governor Harrison marched with an army of about 1,000 men to disperse the confederacy's headquarters at Prophetstown, near the confluence of the Tippecanoe River and the Wabash River.

Tecumseh Native American leader of the Shawnee

Tecumseh was a Native American Shawnee warrior and chief, who became the primary leader of a large, multi-tribal confederacy in the early 19th century. Born in the Ohio Country, and growing up during the American Revolutionary War and the Northwest Indian War, Tecumseh was exposed to warfare and envisioned the establishment of an independent Native American nation east of the Mississippi River under British protection. He worked to recruit additional members to his tribal confederacy from the southern United States.

Tecumsehs War

Tecumseh's War or Tecumseh's Rebellion was a conflict between the United States and an American Indian confederacy led by the Shawnee leader Tecumseh in the Indiana Territory. Although the war is often considered to have climaxed with William Henry Harrison's victory at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, Tecumseh's War essentially continued into the War of 1812, and is frequently considered a part of that larger struggle. The war lasted for two more years, until the fall of 1813, when Tecumseh, as well as his second-in-command, Roundhead, died fighting Harrison's Army of the Northwest at the Battle of the Thames in Upper Canada, near present-day Chatham, Ontario, and his confederacy disintegrated. Tecumseh's War is viewed by some academic historians as being the final conflict of a longer term military struggle for control of the Great Lakes region of North America, encompassing a number of wars over several generations, referred to as the Sixty Years' War.

Shawnee ethnic group

The Shawnee are an Algonquian-speaking ethnic group indigenous to North America. In colonial times they were a semi-migratory Native American nation, primarily inhabiting areas of the Ohio Valley, extending from what became Ohio and Kentucky eastward to West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Western Maryland; south to Alabama and South Carolina; and westward to Indiana, and Illinois.

John Gibson was a veteran of the French and Indian War, Lord Dunmore's War, the American Revolutionary War, Tecumseh's War, and the War of 1812. A delegate to the first Pennsylvania constitutional convention in 1790, and a merchant, he earned a reputation as a frontier leader and had good relations with many Native American in the region. At age sixty he was appointed the Secretary of the Indiana Territory where he was responsible for organization the territorial government. He served twice as acting governor of the territory, including a one-year period during the War of 1812 in which he mobilized and led the territorial militia to relieve besieged Fort Harrison.

Mordecai Bartley American politician

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Tenskwatawa political leader of the Shawnee tribe

Tenskwatawa was a Native American religious and political leader of the Shawnee tribe, known as the Prophet or the Shawnee Prophet. He was a younger brother of Tecumseh, a leader of the Shawnee. In his early years Tenskwatawa was given the name Lalawithika, of the Red Stick Creek Indians. He was once the town drunk, but about 1805, after a stupor so deep that he was believed dead, he awoke and said he had visited the Master of Breath, and been shown a heaven with game and honey for those who lived virtuously and traditionally. He was a métis (mestizo), but he transformed himself into an influential spiritual leader. Tenskwatawa denounced the Euro-American settlers, calling them offspring of the Evil Spirit, and led a purification movement that promoted unity among Native Americans, rejected acculturation to the settler way of life, including alcohol, and encouraged his followers to pursue traditional ways. He was called a Prophet.

Jonathan Jennings American politician

Jonathan Jennings was the first governor of Indiana and a nine-term congressman from Indiana. Born in either Hunterdon County, New Jersey, or Rockbridge County, Virginia, he studied law before immigrating to the Indiana Territory in 1806. Jennings initially intended to practice law, but took jobs as an assistant at the federal land office at Vincennes and assistant to the clerk of the territorial legislature to support himself, and pursued interests in land speculation and politics. Jennings became involved in a dispute with the territorial governor, William Henry Harrison, that soon led him to enter politics and set the tone for his early political career. In 1808 Jennings moved to the eastern part of the Indiana Territory and settled near Charlestown, in Clark County. He was elected as the Indiana Territory's delegate to the U.S. Congress by dividing the pro-Harrison supporters and running as an anti-Harrison candidate. By 1812 he was the leader of the anti-slavery and pro-statehood faction of the territorial government. Jennings and his political allies took control of the territorial assembly and dominated governmental affairs after the resignation of Governor Harrison in 1812. As a congressional delegate Jennings aided passage of the Enabling Act in 1816, which authorized the organization of Indiana's state government and state constitution. He was elected president of the Indiana constitutional convention, held in Corydon in June 1816, where he helped draft the state's first constitution. Jennings supported the effort to ban slavery in the state and favored a strong legislative branch of government.

Siege of Fort Wayne

The Siege of Fort Wayne was a battle that took place Sept. 5 - 12, 1812 during the War of 1812, between the United States military garrison at Fort Wayne and Potawatomi and Miami Indians, within what is now the modern city of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Indians suffered a severe loss and withdrew on Sept. 12. A vast force under Gen. William Henry Harrison arrived later that day to relieve the fort, ending the siege. The victory was one of two which secured Indiana Territory for the United States in the war.

David Wallace (Indiana politician) Indiana politician

David Wallace was the sixth governor of the US state of Indiana. The Panic of 1837 occurred just before his election and the previous administration, which he had been part of, had taken on a large public debt. During his term the state entered a severe financial crisis that crippled the state's internal improvement projects. He advocated several measures to delay the inevitable insolvency of the state. Because of his connection to the internal improvement platform, his party refused to nominate him to run for a second term. The situation continued to deteriorate rapidly and led to state bankruptcy in his successor's term. After his term as governor, he became a congressman, then chairman of the Indiana Whig party before becoming a state judge, a position he held until his death.

Curse of Tippecanoe used to describe the death in office of Presidents of the United States elected in years divisible by twenty

The Curse of Tippecanoe is the supposed pattern of regular death in office of Presidents of the United States elected or re-elected in years evenly divisible by twenty, from William Henry Harrison through John F. Kennedy (1960). Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980, was wounded by gunshot but survived; George W. Bush (2000) survived his terms in office, despite an assassination attempt.

Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809)

The Treaty of Fort Wayne, sometimes called the Ten O'clock Line Treaty or the Twelve Mile Line Treaty, is an 1809 treaty that obtained 3,000,000 acres of American Indian land for the white settlers of Illinois and Indiana. The tribes involved were the Delaware and others. The negotiations excluded the Shawnee who were minor inhabitants of the area and had been asked to leave the area previously by Miami War Chief Little Turtle. Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison negotiated the treaty with the tribes. The treaty led to a war with the United States begun by Shawnee leader Tecumseh and other dissenting tribesmen in what came to be called "Tecumseh's War".

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Indiana in the War of 1812

During the War of 1812, Indiana Territory was home to several conflicts between the United States territorial government and partisan Native American forces backed by the British in Canada. The Battle of Tippecanoe, which had occurred just months before the war began, was one of the catalysts that caused the war. The war in the territory is often considered a continuation of Tecumseh's War, and the final struggle of the Sixty Years' War.

Benjamin Parke was an American lawyer, politician, militia officer, businessman, treaty negotiator in the Indiana Territory who also served as a federal judge in Indiana after it attained statehood in 1816. Parke was the Indiana Territory's attorney general (1804–08); a representative to the territory's first general assembly (1805); its first territorial delegate to the U.S. Congress (1805–08); one of the five Knox County delegates to the Indiana constitutional convention of 1816; and a territorial court judge (1808–16). After Indiana attained statehood, Parke served as the first judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Indiana (1817–35).

Tecumsehs Confederacy 19th Century Native American confederation in the Great Lakes region

Tecumseh's Confederacy was a confederation of Native Americans in the Great Lakes region of the United States that began to form in the early 19th century around the teaching of Tenskwatawa. The confederation grew over several years and came to include several thousand warriors. Shawnee leader Tecumseh, the brother of The Prophet, developed into the leader of the group as early as 1808. Together, they worked to unite the various tribes against the American settlers coming across the Appalachian Mountains and onto their land. In November 1811, an American military force under the leadership of William Henry Harrison engaged warriors associated with Tenskwatawa in the Battle of Tippecanoe. Under Tecumseh's leadership, the confederation then went to war with the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812. However, the confederation fell apart in 1813 following his death at the Battle of the Thames.

William Henry Harrison 1840 presidential campaign campaign for the presidency of the United States

In 1840, William Henry Harrison was elected President of the United States. Harrison, who had served as a general and as United States Senator from Ohio, defeated the incumbent president, Democrat Martin Van Buren, in a campaign that broke new ground in American politics. Among other firsts, Harrison's victory was the first time the Whig Party won a presidential election. A month after taking office, Harrison died and his running mate John Tyler served the remainder of his term, but broke from the Whig agenda, and was expelled from the party.



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Further reading

Booraem, Hendrik (2012). A Child of the Revolution: William Henry Harrison and His World, 1773–1798. Kent State University Press.
Graff, Henry F., ed. The Presidents: A Reference History (3rd ed. 2002) online
Jortner, Adam (2012). The Gods of Prophetstown: The Battle of Tippecanoe and the Holy War for the American Frontier. Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-976529-4.
Pirtle, Alfred (1900). The Battle of Tippecanoe. Louisville: John P. Morton & Co./ Library Reprints. p. 158. ISBN   978-0-7222-6509-3. as read to the Filson Club.
Shade, William G. "'Tippecanoe and Tyler too': William Henry Harrison and the rise of popular politics." In Joel H. Silbey, ed., A Companion to the Antebellum Presidents 1837–1861 (2013), pp. 155–72.
Skaggs, David Curtis. William Henry Harrison and the Conquest of the Ohio Country: Frontier Fighting in the War of 1812 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) xxii.